The creators of the sci-fi MMO Earthrise have been very active in recent months -- granting a number of interviews, releasing monthly newsletters, and participating in dev chats. Stratics recently hosted the third Earthrise 'House of Commons' dev chat, with three members of the Masthead Studios team.
The Masthead Studios devs that took part were Atanas Atanasov (CEO of Masthead Studios), Apostol Apostolov (Lead Game Designer), and Moll (Community Manager). Their discussion ranged from the professions available to players to the extensive crafting system in the game. Read on after the jump for details straight from the devs about what we can expect from Earthrise.
The skill system is of particular interest to most gamers interested in Earthrise. The game's skill system will be extensive, covering training with specific weapons to support skills such as first aid and scouting, piloting vehicles, crafting items and receiving education needed to advance your career offline. (Earthrise features a supplementary system where skill training can progress while offline, not unlike the time-based system used in EVE Online. However, unlike EVE, players can improve their skills through actual gameplay.) The skills in Earthrise unlock abilities, special actions and passive bonuses.
Related to a player's skills are the professions available in Earthrise. Professions allow a player to gain additional income, receive job-based achievements and 'favors' when not adventuring in Enterra. There are two types of job experience: career experience and total job experience. Career experience, essentially reputation, is traded for favors and achievements. Total job experience accumulates the character's entire job history, allowing him/her to get better paying jobs provided the requirements are met (in terms of education skills).
The crafting system in Earthrise is comprehensive, allowing players to craft and repair most of the items used in-game. Apostol Apostolov (Lead Game Designer) stated, "When we say everything, we mean EVERYTHING. You will be able to craft your clothes for socializing out of armor and bragging rights, upper and lower body." Related to crafting is the fact that item decay will permeate the game. All usable items decay either through use or being damaged. Repairs will be possible, but over time their quality will begin to deteriorate. Eventually, the devs clarified, every item will become useless and will need to be scrapped.
Perhaps one of the key issues the devs addressed is their stance on the game's economy and their views on non-sanctioned RMT. Masthead Studios CEO Atanas Atanasov weighed in on this issue: "We will stand strongly against such type of actions and will try to minimize the power leveling and in-game currency sales. How we will do that is another question - our plans are to develop a lot of observation tools and have the game admins watch for such behaviour."
This is of particular concern to fans of FPS games. Masthead Studios confirmed that "Boom! Headshot!" will not likely be ringing out over voice during Earthrise combat. The game will not have have locational damage as with an FPS. Item qualities and effects will simulate locational damage to some extent; the devs stated this is more a matter of fine-tuning your equipment than pure dynamic gameplay. Aiming will strike a balance between FPS-style manual aiming and weapons that acquire 'lock' on a single target. Beyond the mechanics affecting a player's handheld weapons, mechs will play a significant part in Earthrise. Apostolov stated that they will have a "huge impact in almost all areas... they will be a firepower to fear, they will have incredible carrying capacity and they will be able to harvest special resources in a dangerous, hazardous environment."
GUILDS and GROUPING
The devs are still working on the guild system, so there aren't a lot of details to be had on this aspect of the game. However, they've stated their design goal as being: no restrictions on maximum number of members, numerous opportunities for guild management. Also there will be no country restrictions on servers, 'server choice will be free to everyone.'
They also addressed the limitations on grouping. Parties are limited to six players, which the devs say will allow simple, tight coordination within a small team of players. In order to accommodate larger-scale activities, parties will be able to sign 'friendships' between each other to form alliances of parties, each party having its own party leader. The devs are still working on game mechanics that will allow players to form an army on the fly. For a real army though, they recommend building a guild.
Territorial control is an important part of Earthrise's game design. They're working to create a system where one group of players cannot capture all of Enterra Island. Also, bases will have a self-destruct to deny would-be conquerors the spoils of war. But a counter will be put in place which allows for an interruption of the self-destruct. Apostolov said, "It will be a tricky skill to use, because it will take time on its own, so expect a (matter) of seconds between detonation and turning it off, and there will be great deal of risk involved for the person doing the hard job."
To read more about what kind of game Earthrise is shaping up to be, check out the Stratics dev chat with Masthead Studios, or just to get a who-said-what perspective on their stated game mechanics.